Saturday, December 19, 2015

Look At the Pretty Sounds!

This week was a pretty exciting week in the world of science.  We have been studying how sound works, and our voice works. We have had an opera singer come in and show us how her voice works.

We have been discovering how birds song and how that compares to how our own voicebox operates. This week we wanted to see what sound looks like. We created our own tonoscopes in science class with Lisa. We used a large yogurt cup, a balloon, a needlepoint loom, construction paper and tape. We cut a hole in the side of the yogurt cup, and put rolls of paper into them. We stretch the rubber from the balloons over the needle point loom. We then pushed it over the top of the yogurt jar and added a little salt. When we spoke into the tubes, it made beautiful pictures on the top of the rubber. It was pretty amazing to see what patterns went with what sound.

We also were able to see what would happen if we hooked up music to a plate with sand on it. We could see how the sand was jumping around with different tones. We also had the chance to see which frequency would make the sand or salt jump highest. We discovered that this was called the Resonant Frequency.  In addition we attached a resonator to different materials and found which created the best sound.

We discovered a ton of new things about sound this week.

Snowball fight with paper balls. Not trying to hit each other, but trying to get as many paper balls to the other teams side.

Have a fantastic break!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Math Class Changes

One of the main goals in the 3/4 level is to foster a child's ability to work independently. With that in mind, we are moving to have the textbook be the main focus for our work.  During independent work time, the students will be mostly focused on working in their textbook.  If they are struggling with a particular topic, I will assign related workbook exercises to complete.  The textbook doesn't leave much space to work on their problems, so I have given them each an orange folder with paper to work on. 

I will be evaluating them based on their textbook work.  While the textbooks stay at school, the workbooks may go home for extra practice.  This goes for all students unless we have already specified a unique need for a particular student.

The textbook explains how to do the math in each of the sections. The goal is for the student to be able to read the text and figure out how to do the math themselves, leaving the teacher to fill in the gaps and make meaningful connections between the abstract problems and the real world.  It also allows the student to move ahead at their own pace and not have to wait for the teacher to explain everything.  This is also the strategy used by the math teachers at the next levels of math at this school.  I would like to prepare them to be able to succeed in those classes as well.

I hope these new changes will help the students become more independent in their mathematical adventures.

Let me know what questions you have.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!


Our team did an amazing job balancing the school play with their work on their Project Time project.  I am delighted to say that everyone turned in their projects on time and was brilliantly prepared to present their projects to the class on Friday.  Every project was well thought out and received positive feedback.  Some prompted great discussions about what makes a good project and the value of the more unique projects.  I was very impressed.  Each presentation was recorded for archival purposes and should be available soon upon request.
Hover board testing
A new desk


While the projects this term were aimed at our personal interests and skills, 2 teams decided to use their powers for good.  They decided to have a Bake Sale and Drink Sale to benefit animals.  Between the 2 groups and 2 days, they raised $114.  They decided to combine their earnings and split it straight down the middle to help two animal charities.  They chose The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to help the sharks and the Ann Arbor Cat Clinic to help cats.  Each institution received $57.  For more information visit: and


Moved by our generous donation, The Ann Arbor Cat Clinic decided to invite us to their clinic, give us a tour, and let us visit with some of the cats.  We were not expecting that!